Author Archives: dawnlizjones

About dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

Define free.

laptop-3087585_1920If you are reading this and you haven’t yet taken advantage the various WordPress University sites, I highly recommend you look into it!  First of all, they’re free. 

Well, okay, we all know what that means.  There is a cost somewhere to somebody.  Those who write for and administrate the courses have to get a paycheck somehow, and time is money.  So in the interest of accuracy, we’ll just say it’s FREE to those of us who take the courses.

Alright, try again.  There is no “pecuniary remuneration” on the part of the student, but one does need to invest a currency concerning which there is no refund—TIME.  To get out of the course, you have to dig, experiment, and try, try again.  These courses are intentional, at times frustrating, but to new writers, very rewarding.  As usual, you get out of it what you put into it. Continue reading

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Thank you, Duolingo

international-2684767_1920I’m learning Swedish.  Slowly.  I have a working vocabulary of, I dunno, 70 words?  Our second granddaughter is 50% Swedish (our son-in-law is 100%), and they live about an hour outside of Stockholm. 

Now, when my son-in-law heard of my little project, he informed me that only 10 million people on the globe speak his language, as compared with the 1.5 billion that speak some form of English, his point being that it wasn’t necessarily practical to learn his native tongue.

Since when does a grandmother need to be practical?? Continue reading


Fake News by any other name…

news-1337740_1920When I was younger, we had several words for what is today called “fake news”.  We called it embellishment, exaggeration, or bold-faced lying.  Consider, however, a peculiar strain of philosophers who question whether or not truth empirically exists, and if so, is it actually knowable? 

Solomon seemed to think so, and he pretty well had the monopoly on wisdom, not be mention several other things:  

Commit yourself to instruction;
    listen carefully to words of knowledge.

And a little further down the page:

Get the truth and never sell it;
    also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.

I appreciate his imperative use of “get the truth”.  It invokes another part of philosophy called logic, which states  or ‘a’ cannot equal ‘not a’.  In other words, you cannot have two opposing statements be true at the same time (or something like that; one my end, sometimes it’s helpful to put down the philosophy book and pick up Calvin and Hobbes.)

According to King Solomon, truth is something I can go get; I can commit myself to its proper and prosperous instruction because (1) it exists, and (2) is available.  Evidently, it comes with wisdom, discipline and good judgment thrown in for good measure.  But I have to go and get it.  Intentionally.  Persistently.  Disregarding all that is “not truth”.

Which is a muddy pool to wade in for our society these days, or any culture in any time period since we got booted out of the Garden.  We have a distinct tendency (as opposed to the rest of creation, if you’ll notice) to prefer “Not-A” if ‘A’ is less to our liking, and we have various and sundry reasons as to why don’t like it.

Actually, ‘it’ is a ‘Who’, which puts a name and history to just what we are rejecting.  Here’s what Jesus says about Himself:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Which makes the rejection personal, not merely philosophical. 

Proverbs 23:12,23; John 14:6  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Beware: Fierce lions in my yard

cat-2536662_1920“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing.  One that sounds good, and a real one.”

That’s from the practical wisdom of J.P. Morgan, one of most influential bankers of the early 20th century. 

Of course, then there are those who are a bit more honest about their motivation, like Phyllis Diller:

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

On the one hand:

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

On the other hand:

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
    If I go outside, I might be killed!”

Why is one cautious person congratulated for being prudent while the other is vilified as a three-toed sloth?

It really all has to do with motive. 

The prudent (wise, forward-thinking) one “foresees”, meaning he’s diligently done his research and understands the probabilities (are lions endemic to this area?), and based on those probabilities, he may take his gun out with him and search the area before proceeding. 

The lazy person, by contrast, stays on the coach and opens another beer…because that’s what he really prefers to do.  Making excuses for his decision assuages his own conscience, regardless of how ridiculous those excuses seem.

In fact, humans are probably the only part of God’s creation who uses the art of rationalization, that finely tuned skill of making excuses, even deluding ourselves into thinking those excuses are true.  

Here’s interesting application: “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it.”

I’m glad medical students don’t adhere to that philosophy: “I don’t read my A&P text because I don’t understand it.”  A student—a real one, that is—does something about their lack of understanding. 

And for my sake, I’m glad they do!

Proverbs 22:3,13  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


“Mahwidge…mahwidge is what bwings us togetha today…”

jealousy-3029711_1920Please pardon the old movie referred to in the title.  If you don’t know where it’s from, no worries–it’s not worth it.

We’re coming up on thirty-eight years, Bob and I.  Old-timers know how the stars in the eyes you both had walking down the aisle fade pretty quickly after maybe five years. 

How about five minutes?

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because communication patterns have to be adapted to each other’s personality type, fatigue level, ongoing external stresses, and for some of us, that time of the month.  Just bein’ real here. Continue reading


T-bones or corncobs?

bag-147782_1280I love the story of the Prodigal Son, on several layers.  Did you know that the word prodigal doesn’t mean “sinful”?  It means extravagant.  Wasteful.  Lavish.  I guess I didn’t know that until well into my adulthood.  The kid in the story certainly exemplifies the concept quite well.

But do you ever wonder why that father acquiesced to his son’s request for the early payout on his inheritance?  Maybe I just don’t know the Jewish custom back in that day, or maybe it isn’t relevant to the point Jesus was trying to make, because here’s the thing:

An inheritance obtained too early in life
    is not a blessing in the end.

This kid was in no way ready to handle his inheritance wisely.  His father had to know that, but handed over his intended wealth anyway and, well, we know the end result…something about trading T-bone steaks for empty corncobs.

Recent brain studies are telling us more about the frontal lobe of the human brain; in particular, how this part of our brain (which determines good judgment, actions/consequences, as well as being the reasonable brakes on otherwise impulsive emotions) does not fully mature—are you ready for this one?—until early to mid-twenties. 

I wonder how long it takes my spiritual frontal lobe to mature? 

Here’s an example: I heard a pastor say, (see? I really do listen!), that many times God intentionally withholds His blessing because we’re not ready to use it properly.  That this withholding is, in fact, God’s discipline preparing us to handle the blessing in the most sustainable way, in the way which produces the highest return to bless others and build His kingdom. 

Maybe instead of asking for blessing, I need to pray for disciplined maturity.  I think somehow the blessing will naturally follow.

Proverbs 20:21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Spoon-fed

study 2Dad is a retired engineer, a graduate of Purdue University, a true Boilermaker is ever there was one.  He was the first of his family to go to college, not a small accomplishment having been born at the start of the Great Depression.  After his stint in the Navy, and a bit of disgruntlement with the union’s treatment of his hard work ethic, he decided to go back to school.  So here was a seasoned vet in his early twenties heading off to classes with fresh-faced high school graduates in a post-Korea university setting.

The stories are hilarious, and quite enlightening. Continue reading